October 14th, 2014 at 12:19 pm
As we near the beginning of Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival, I really don’t know what else to say.
If you like Americana and bluegrass music, you should go. If you like camping, you should go. And if you like scenic Arkansas, well, you should go.
Harvest Festival’s combination of these elements makes the event, as festival director Bret Mosiman describes it, the perfect weekend to get your camping gear out one last time. I spent some time talking to Mosiman about the festival, and I published a story [Note: Subscriber content] in Friday’s What’s Up! section that previews the event, which begins Thursday (Oct. 16) on Mulberry Mountain north of Ozark on Arkansas 23. The event concludes in the early morning hours of Sunday (Oct. 19).
Here are a few tips for those of you heading down to the mountain:
• The weather at Harvest Festival is notoriously fickle. You might have even viewed a long-term forecast that shows perfectly clear skies. But it rained a tremendous amount in the region in the days leading up to the festival, so I’d pack some rain boots just in case. The worst that happens is you have to leave them in your vehicle all weekend.
• Ditto on a light rain jacket. Pack one just in case.
• Festival organizers have put together a pretty handy travel guide, with packing tips. It summarizes it as well as I can: yonderharvestfestival.com/travel-guide/
• The travel guide mentions this as well, but I’ll emphasis it again — drink a tremendous amount of water.
• Pack a camping headlamp. They are invaluable for late-night trips to the restroom.
• Music is the focus, but there are plenty of other things to do in the immediate area. There’s a nearby waterfall hike everyone should make. The trail head is near the main stage.
P.S. Come back tomorrow, when I’ll preview the festival’s Top 10 must-see acts.
October 13th, 2014 at 10:49 am
Better known for his work with The Black Crowes, Chris Robinson has taken his band-leading duties to his own project, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. It’s that project that will visit George’s Majestic Lounge on Thursday (Oct. 16) for a show in support of the band’s latest release, “The Phosphorescent Harvest.” Admission to the 9 p.m. show is $18.
October 10th, 2014 at 1:31 pm
All the gear was onstage, and the soundcheck was complete, or very nearly so. A roadie had already placed a full setlist on the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion stage, and I know this because I was three feet away from the edge of the stage in the photo pit. I even took a photo of the setlist in preparation.
And then … nothing.
Well, not nothing. Lightning and rain and winds postponed the start of the Foster the People the show last night (Oct. 9), and this was after Fitz and the Tantrums cut their opening set short due to the same weather concerns. They said they wanted to give the crowd as much time as possible with the evening’s headliner. The set change commenced, and then we waited.
When venue manager Brian Crowne stood before a crowd of 5,000 or so packed into the Rogers venue and told them the show would be delayed, he got a smattering of boos.
But you know what? I think officials at the AMP got this one right. Or at least mostly right.
It may not have been the concert many people envisioned. French multi-instrumentalist Soko played her full set. I got there too late to catch most of it, but the crowd seemed enthusiastic. Fitz and the Tantrums roared out of the gates with energy that never flagged until they shut it down on accord of the incoming weather. They played a too-short blend of soul and ’80s-inspired pop, a rare band without an electric guitar that still captures my interest. A lot of that enthusiasm is owed to dueling lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. They rarely stopped moving, particularly Scaggs. Foster the People had a lot to live up to, considering.
Then the rains came.
To my knowledge, the conditions never reached published severe weather thresholds, officially defined by the National Weather Service as a storm producing winds 58 miles per hour or greater and/or hail an inch or larger in diameter. But there was lightning, and no one wants to be caught in a large open structure with water in the ground in such conditions. The Southeastern Conference, of which the Arkansas Razorbacks is a member, postpones a game by 30 minutes any time a lightning strike is recorded within eight miles of a stadium. That kind of thing isn’t exclusive to sporting events, of course — Glastonbury, the massive music festival in England, shut down some stages earlier this year due to storms. The AMP has a weather policy — events are rain or shine, but that blanket statement doesn’t cover severe weather. Those situations are monitored in consultation with a meteorologist as they develop.
What resulted from the situation on Thursday evening at the AMP were condensed versions of the sets by both Fitz and the Tantrums and Foster the People. Fitz played for about 45 minutes. I understand Foster the People got about an hour of stage time after a delay of slightly more than an hour. But I took off for my home in Fayetteville when the delay was announced. Several left at the same time I did, and I’m not sure how many waited around.
That meant a less-than-idyllic concert experience, but I’m not sure how else the situation should have been handled. If we can all agree that the venue needed to be cleared out for a while — and let’s agree to that, shall we? — the safer option is inside a car, which is where AMP officials instructed everyone to go. The only folks who didn’t comply promptly and orderly were those holding a still-full beer. Every fan still in the venue five minutes after the weather warning was trying to suck down a beverage.
The only problem with the “get to your cars immediately” edict comes for those who don’t have cars, and I know I saw some teenagers who were dropped off early in the evening and were huddled near the gates as I left, hoping for shelter or an earlier-than-expected ride home. In such an event, there must be a safe spot for the displaced to go, and I’m not sure where that was last night.
The assembled masses were initially told to expect a 30-minute delay, and when 30 minutes passed and there had been no update, people started flooding the venue’s social media channels seeking answers. They got one about 20 minutes later, telling fans that the delay continued. Ten minutes after that update, the start of the show was announced. The AMP should have provided a more immediate update at the 30-minute mark — fans were just sitting in their cars waiting, after all.
But waiting for the worst of it to pass and then moving forward seemed to be the best available of some less-than-desirable options. One option, of course, was to try and reschedule the whole thing, but that made very little sense, considering two of the bands had already played and this was the last event on the outdoor venue’s calendar for the year. I really think everyone would rather be at the AMP during an October rainstorm than during a January ice storm.
Another recourse would have been a cancellation and a refund, but that’s not ideal either. Some people didn’t get the full concert they anticipated on Thursday (it was shortened by 30 minutes, maybe), but I suspect the thousands of dollars that would have went out as a refund would have cut into the venue’s booking capabilities for the following year. Which would you rather have — one fewer show next year, or a reduction by a third of one in the current season?
Perhaps there are third and fourth options I don’t know or didn’t think of.
But we learned a couple things last night — this region is ready to support larger indie rock acts, and you still can’t predict October weather.
P.S. If your night was radically different than the one I experienced, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below, or email me.
October 10th, 2014 at 5:03 am
It’s been quite the week for live music.
I watched J. Roddy Walston and the Business on Wednesday (Oct. 8) night. That concert got a little rowdy. Rock ‘n’ roll lives.
That does not mean the music stops. In fact, it just keeps going. That’s what you’ll find in the list below.
Electro-pop rockers Phantogram are on the bill this weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, Texas. They’ll take a pit stop on the way to their Sunday show for a Saturday night (Oct. 11) gig at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. The New York-based duo earlier this year released the album “Voices” to critical acclaim. Phantogram will be joined by Lia Ices for the 9:30 p.m. show. Admission is $20, but good luck getting tickets for that price — this one sold out early.
On the same evening, local rockers Brothel Sprouts will release their debut EP. The band draws from influences such as Modest Mouse and The Clash for their original songs. The release party for “Good Enough” takes place Saturday at Backspace, located just off the Frisco Trail between Meadow and Church streets in Fayetteville. The show starts at 9 p.m.
The Ozark Folk Festival continues this weekend. We profiled it this week, but as a reminder, know that Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer & Shipley and Danny Cox have headlining duties at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs. That show takes place on Saturday night, but there’s plenty of music happening prior to that event.
And in a rare hip-hop show for the venue, Flow Game and Big Lowe are performing on Saturday night at The Lightbulb Club.
What’s on your weekend agenda?
October 8th, 2014 at 9:33 am
The California-based indie pop act Foster the People caught fire in 2011 after the release of the song “Pumped Up Kicks.” The group’s debut album “Torches” earned acclaim, and the 2014 followup, “Supermodel,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Album Chart. Foster the People, neo-soul band Fitz and the Tantrums and French multi-instrumentalist Soko will team up for a show on Thursday (Oct. 9) at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion. Admission to the 7 p.m. show is $32.
October 7th, 2014 at 11:29 am
Fayetteville harpist Beth Stockdell will celebrate her debut album, “A Priceless Meadow,” during a release party from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 8) at The Arsaga’s Depot location in Fayetteville. The CD contains a mixture of originals and traditional Celtic tunes recorded on solo acoustic lever harp. For details, visit stockdell.com.
October 6th, 2014 at 3:07 pm
The long-haired Southern boys in J. Roddy Walston & The Business earlier this year released the album “Essential Tremors,” which as been earning a lot of airplay on modern rock and alternative radio. They also spent much of the year on the festival circuit, appearing at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and the local Wakarusa festival. The group, which pulls from sounds made by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Replacements and Southern soul, returns to the area for a Wednesday night (Oct. 8) show at George’s Majestic Lounge. Fly Golden Eagle opens. Admission to the 9 p.m. show is $10.
October 6th, 2014 at 12:44 pm
The Northwest Arkansas Media group was unable to reach contractual terms with Carlos Santana’s management team regarding photo permission for his Oct. 5 show at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion. Please enjoy this courtesy photo instead.
Santana calmly stalked around the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion stage on Sunday (Oct. 5) night. He walked with a purpose. He laid down some sweet licks. He wore two shirts during the course of his two-plus-hour show, and both of them carried his name. I’m fairly certain he was chewing gum during the early parts of the evening. He was cooler than everyone else in the venue, and by some measure.
These are the kind of things you can get away with when you’re Carlos Santana, largely considered one of the world’s best guitarists. “World” is important in this equation — it properly ranks him globally, and it makes reference to his diverse sound, a combination of American blues, Latin jazz, African tribal rhythms and a whole lot more.
It’s also the rare band that’s named for a guitarist, and not a lead singer, but Santana has earned his place. He performed at Woodstock, and he showed a brief video snippet to anyone who might not have known. He’s spend the prevailing 40 years making relevant music, and he spent his local show proving that. He offered songs from the very beginning of his career, such as “Soul Sacrifice,” a jam he played at Woodstock. He would also play a couple monster hits from the 1999 album “Supernatural.”
Santana brought a large band with him for this stop on his nationwide “Corazon” tour, named for the album he released in May of this year. With a backing guitarist, bass, a pair of lead vocalists, keyboards, a two-piece horn section and a tremendous amount of percussion, the band spent much of the evening jamming. The focus remained on him, however, and for good reason. He’s got in incredible guitar tone, and it’s instantly recognizable, too.
The concert exceeded two hours, but covered fewer than 20 songs. Yet this was a precise affair in many ways, too — Santana and company mostly followed along with the program of previous gigs on this tour, and their ability to shut off in an instant and roar back to life a second later was impressive. It also started promptly, and the portion before the encore lasted almost exactly two hours. If you were like me, and you got stuck in one-lane construction traffic just south of the venue on Interstate 49, you probably missed the opening. There was no opening act, and Santana started promptly.
He looked happy for the duration of the set, and he paused a few times to talk about love and peace and God. There’s reason to be happy — his rhythm-heavy blend is in many ways joyous music.
He left many people dancing on Sunday night.
October 3rd, 2014 at 2:33 pm
The Ozark Folk Festival is billing its Saturday (Oct. 11) headlining show as the Ultimate Cowtown Ballroom Reunion. Featured acts Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer & Shipley and Danny Cox all played at the Kansas City, Mo. venue.
So, might they all join together in Eureka Springs for a song or two? Charles Ragsdell, one of the folk festival’s coordinators, isn’t sure. But they’re all friends, and they’ve all done so in various combinations in the past, so … why not?
Perhaps no one will know until the show, which takes place in The Auditorium in Eureka Springs. The show is one of many taking place during the nearly week long folk festival, which begins Tuesday (Oct. 7).
In a recent chat with Ragsdell, we talked about the connections between the artists, how the Daredevils fit into the “folk” world and many of the other acts scheduled for the festival. You can read my story online, if you’re a subscriber to any of the NWA Media daily papers or our online products.
The schedule of events goes like this:
7 p.m. — Queen’s Contest featuring The HedgeHoppers, The Auditorium
8 p.m. — Cindy Woolf Band featuring Mark Bilyeu, Basin Park Hotel
Noon — Singer/songwriter contest, Basin Spring Park
3:30 p.m. — The Clark Family Trio, Basin Spring Park
7:30 p.m. — Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer & Shipley and Danny Cox, The Auditorium
For details or tickets, visit the festival’s website.
October 3rd, 2014 at 5:03 am
Welcome to the Arkansas Razorback football team’s bye weekend, otherwise known as the weekend on which everyone else schedules their fall event.
It’s busy out there. But if you get out of the house, and you probably will, there’s no reason to go home early. Which means you should find some live music.
Follow my logic there?
There’s plenty of musical opportunities.
One of them takes place on Sunday (Oct. 5), and all indications point toward it being a major deal.
Hitmaker and musical icon Santana will bring his live show to the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion on Sunday. The guitarist launched his career at Woodstock and has continued to make relevant music in the ensuing decades. His most recent release, “Corazon,” is Santana’s 22nd studio album. It features guest vocals from Juanes, Pitbull and more. Tickets to the Sunday stop on the “Corazon” tour range from $40 to $130 and are available by calling 443-5600 or via arkansasmusicpavilion.com. Music begins about 7 p.m.
Elsewhere, Ben Rector has a show tonight (Oct. 3) at George’s Majestic Lounge. The former Fayetteville resident has been making a name for himself for his smart piano pop. Good luck getting tickets, by the way — it’s been sold out for a couple weeks now.
George’s is also hosting Members Only, an ’80s cover band. You might have heard them play at the main stage at Bikes, Blues & BBQ last weekend. They perform Saturday (Oct. 4) starting about 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
For something different, try The Bad Plus at the Walton Arts Center. They mix pop influences into their avant garde jazz. They have two sets — 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. — on Saturday at the downtown Fayetteville venue. Tickets range from $20-$30.
See you at a show somewhere?